Takumi Kishi is a man on a mission, and that mission has now taken him all the way to Africa.
On Sept. 26, Kishi headed to Kenya, hoping to use sports to heal the hearts of children suffering from poverty or heading for a life of crime.
Kishi, 25, is volunteering in a coastal town located some 500 kilometers from the Kenyan capital of Nairobi for two years as a Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteer, a group affiliated with the Japanese government.
"I want to establish an environment where children can have fun together, experience teamwork, and start rebuilding their lives," Kishi said of the Kenyan children, some of whom are resorting to crime to escape poverty.
After graduating from Chuo University, Kishi worked at a major cram school in Japan for two years. He felt that something was wrong when many of his students had to either quit the cram school to focus on sports or quit sports to focus on their studies. Kishi felt that children should not have to choose between sports and studies. He wanted to contribute to society through sports, so he decided to quit his job and enroll in graduate school.
The Tokyo-born Kishi had always loved soccer as a boy. He wasn't good enough to make it as a player, so he gained experience as a referee and equipment manager while he was in high school. He learned from these experiences that there was more to sports than playing.
During college, Kishi visited the island republic of Vanuatu, taught local villagers the international rules of soccer and made friends there. That's when he realized first-hand that "sports can be a tool for communication."
Kishi has more than just a passion for sports--he has the ability and drive to take action. After the March 11 earthquake, he organized a charity walk around the Yamanote Line in Tokyo, and played sports with children in disaster areas as a member of a volunteer group.
"I like jumping into an unknown world," he said before heading off to Africa. "I hope to give sports a whole new value in Kenya."
- « Prev
- Next »